Coffee Roast Date, Why Wait?! Is fresh best??
Coffee like many other products has a shelf life and an ideal time frame in which you should use it. So; when should we be using our coffee? The answer, unfortunately, isn’t that simple and depends on a whole load of factors, but we will try and give you some guidance so that next time you get that fresh bag you know what to do.
The first and most important thing to consider is how you like your coffee to taste, if you are a fan of bright, fruity and citrus flavours then generally the fresher the better. However, if you’re more a fan of the rich chocolate and caramel notes or prefer a more balanced cup then it’s better to wait and let the coffee go through what we call degassing.
Degassing is the process that occurs as coffee ages, there is a heap of carbon dioxide that gets trapped within the bean during the roasting process. And because carbon dioxide is mildly acidic it will have an affect on how the coffee tastes and not always in a good way. If a coffee is too fresh then it will have an acidic, sour, green taste and can be pretty generic. However, if its much older coffee and has fully degassed then the coffee can taste stale as it will have oxidised.
So where’s the middle ground? Well that’s the thing, every coffee reacts differently to the degassing process, darker roasted coffees tend to hold more gas in them but degas faster as the structure of the coffee bean is less intact when compared to a lightly roasted bean. It also depends on origin, varietal and even the storage conditions.
Most importantly it depends on what you want your coffee to taste like and how you drink it.
However, in the case of a filter coffee (with no milk) I normally pick a tasty light roasted Ethiopian or Kenyan. If this is the case I want those coffees to have degassed a little but not too much, this way I can taste the origin, varietal and processing of the coffee but it hasn’t gone stale. Therefore, I would use a coffee that is maybe 7-8 days post roast but no more than 4 weeks. It’s also important to note that a coffees flavour will change the more you let it degas and age, so try and taste it as that ageing process is going on. You might find that you prefer it to be really well degassed or the complete opposite and super fresh.
At the end of the day its really all about you and if you think it tastes good and makes you happy, hopefully we have been able to give you guidance in how to find that perfect point!
Happy brewing - Grouch Crew